Academic journal article Mythlore

Editorial

Academic journal article Mythlore

Editorial

Article excerpt

This issue is a bit of a grab bag, with papers that push the boundary of the definition of what Mythlore considers within its subject area--but each is interesting and thought-provoking in its own way.

We lead with Robert Boenig's plenary address from Myth con 47, on the character of the "Materialist Magician" (Screwtape's term) in Tolkien and Lewis--the Janus-like figure who looks backwards to magic and forwards to scientism, without the moral core to reconcile his liminality. Tolkien's Saruman and Lewis's Uncle Andrew and Devine are key specimens of this trope, with Merlin standing as a counter-example

In his article on G.K. Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse, Nick Mine follows Chesterton's development of the idea of using King Alfred and the Battle of Ethandune as the core of a long poem on England and Englishness, and examines how the poem was received by contemporaries, fared in later criticism, and influenced other writers.

Jake La Jeunesse looks at a particular aspect of Neil Gaiman's American Gods: its evocation of the quintessential American small town of Lakeside, Wisconsin. Lakeside is compared to similar small towns, with their more or less ambiguous undertones of insularity and something not quite right, in Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life," Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, and Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion.

In "'It Was Allowed to One,'" Andrew Stout examines the way C.S. Lewis adopted Charles Williams's ideas about coinherence and substitution in Till We Have Faces and, most poignantly, in A Grief Observed and his letters about his wife Joy Davidman's cancer, miraculous remission, and eventual death.

Joe R. Christopher returns to our pages with a brief paper on Anthony Boucher's short story "Review Copy," part horror and part fantasy, drawing on mythology associated with both black and white blood magic.

Source-hunters on C.S. Lewis must deal with what James Como called his "alchemical imagination"--his tendency, as Thomas Schmidt puts it in his article, to act like like medieval writers who "were in the business not of inventing new material but of transforming existing material." Schmidt tabulates parallels in Lewis's writing to two particular sources: David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus, which Lewis acknowledged as a major influence, and V. …

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